Using Recovery Principles in Christian Programs

How can we properly use ideas, principles, and techniques from the secular treatment in Christian recovery programs?

A. Stay true to the scriptures – Anything we use in rescue ministry — whether in the area of fund-raising, business practices, or rehabilitation — must be subjected to the light of the Word of God. Therefore, we must throw out any principles or philosophies that contradict God’s Word! Christian counselors must reject any philosophy or approach that lifts from a sinner his sense of responsibility for his own actions and his need for repentance and brokenness at the Cross of Christ. The Bible is perfectly clear on the fact that real, lasting change can only occur when an individual can experience true repentance — which implies a sense of personal accountability for his actions and their consequences.

B. Be discerning A creationist scientist will reach a set of conclusions on a certain geological formation that is very different from those of his evolutionist counterpart. In a similar fashion, while dealing with factual data, conclusions reached by non-Christian researchers or counselors often reflect a godless “world-view.” Despite this dilemma, we must not reject the whole body of factual knowledge about addiction and successful treatment approaches that is accessible and useful to us as Christian counselors.

C. Use what you can and discard the rest – Certainly, some of the ideas that are coming out of the secular treatment world do contradict the scriptures (especially on the topics of morality and spirituality). Yet, many of the successful methods they use to establish addicts in a life of sobriety have their origins in the Word of God! In a very real sense, they have re-discovered some deep spiritual principles that have been almost lost to the modern Western Church. Some of these are: the power of accountable relationships, the healing nature of deep and intimate sharing between believers, the indisputable connection between rigorous honesty and true spirituality, and the principle of comforting others through sharing how the Lord brought us through similar situations (2 Corinthians. 1:3-7). While secular and atheistic people may see these principles in a totally different light, we ought to be able to discern, with the Holy Spirit’s help, what aspects of this field of knowledge we can integrate into our mission programs without compromising on revealed truth.



Rescue Magazine Summer 1993

Creating Hope in Our Clients

I have often said that the residential recovery program’s first goal is to create hope in our clients. What are some ways we can accomplish this?

Before people can begin the process of change they must fully understand two basic truths; 1) that change is needed in a certain area of their lives and 2) that change is possible.

In previous articles, I have discussed strategies of breaking through the addict’s denial system, which is the starting point for his or her accepting the need for change. But if we only convince people that their lives are a mess we may leave them in a place of despair. We must create an environment full of hope where they can catch a vision for how their lives could be in Christ, along with giving the tools to build a life of faith and recovery.

A. Share the Word — In chapel services and Bible studies with new residents spend time studying scriptures like Jeremiah 29: 11 – “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Addicts tend to be “spiritually dysfunctional” and need to gain a clear perspective of God the Father, His character, His power, and His intentions for them.

B. Addiction Education – Gaining more knowledge about addiction serves two very important functions. First, it helps the addict in denial accept his or her condition. Secondly, this knowledge can be a tremendous source of comfort and hope for those struggling with post acute withdrawal symptoms and the emotional difficulties that come with early recovery. Many addicts believe they are “terminally unique.’ — that no one has experienced the same struggles and that their problems are so bad they can’t be fixed. Newly sober addicts need to understand that they are suffering from a malady that is shared by others. Many resources are available: lending libraries, literature, videos, and local professionals who can speak at the mission. Contact AGRM’s Education Office for information on educational resources for use in a mission setting.

C. One-on-One Counseling – Every participant in a long-term program needs at least one hour a week with a staff member who understands addiction to help them through the struggles of early recovery. One very important goal of the first few counseling sessions is to help addicts to work through the toxic shame that them tells them they can’t change. They need to know that God loves them and that His power is available to help them to overcome addiction.

D. Support Groups – Good support groups provide recovering addicts with a safe, non-judgmental setting to share their struggles, thoughts, and feelings without fear of rejection. Hearing the stories of others with similar difficulties and how they overcame them provides valuable encouragement for them to go on in a life of sobriety.

E. Hearing the Stories of Staff Members and Program Graduates – People who are new to our programs need to get acquainted with those who have completed the program and have gone on to lead successful, sober lives. Find ways to get them involved in formal meetings and informal gatherings like alumni picnics. In a similar way, it’s important to give other members of your staff who might not be directly involved with the recovery program a chance to share who they overcame addiction, as well. Both program graduates and staff members who are themselves in recovery stand as living proof that the principles shared in your program really do work!

Free Wi-Fi for a Low Income Housing Project

Connecting for Good, the nonprofit organization I staretd in 2011, has entered into a partnership with the  Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority   to bring free Wi-Fi to their largest low income housing project — Juniper Gardens.

The   large  mesh network  we are building  will cover almost four city blocks and wil bring free in-home broadband Internet to 390 units where nearly 1,000 people live.    More than 70 Wi-Fi radio transmitters will be installed on nearly forty buildings.

We will also be developing a computer learning lab in the community center at the complex. Similar to our Rosedale Ridge project, we will be providing digital life skills training and inexpensive refurbished PC systems to residents at Juniper Gardens.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! Make a donation to this project on